VaEtchanan: Beyond the Law

July 30, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The most obvious connection between Tisha b’Av and parshat Vaetchanan—which is always read on the Shabbat following this saddest of days—lies in the opening lines of the parsha, where Moshe pleads to enter the land from which his beloved people would be exiled hundreds of years later.   The origins of Tisha B’Av stem from the chet hameraglim, the sin of...
Continue Reading »

VaEtchanan: Learning to Read

August 16, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Torah encompasses all aspects of life: it regulates our existence from the day we are born until the day we die, and from the moment we awake until we retire at night. It is only after one has accepted the binding nature of the Law that one may begin to question the whys of the Law. While clearly some laws are more important than others, our attitude towards them all must be one of absolute obedience. "Be as meticulous in the light...
Continue Reading »

VaEtchanan: An Extra And

July 27, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Shamor v’Zachor b’dibur echad". This phrase, sung every Friday night, notes the most famous difference between the recording of the aseret hadibrot in parshat Yitro, where we are commanded to “remember, zachor, the Shabbat” and Moshe's recounting of the events 40 years later, where we are commanded to “guard, shamor, the Shabbat...
Continue Reading »

VaEtchanan: The People and Moshe

August 04, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“At that time I pleaded with G-d, saying, ‘O G-d, Lord…please let me cross the Jordan. Let me see the good land across the Jordan, the good mountain’”(Devarim 3:23-25). Moshe Rabbeinu had not yet given up his hope to enter the land of Israel. He pleaded, prayed, cajoled, negotiated, just so he could enter the Holy Land any which way, even as a foot soldier in Joshua's army. If only we had one iota of the depth...
Continue Reading »

VaEtchanan: World Leaders

August 19, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Attempts to understand the rationale behind the mitzvoth of the Torah have generated much debate and discussion through the millennia. Many have feared that the search for answers is irrelevant at best, and possibly even outright dangerous. What reason other than the Divine command does anyone need?    No less a person than Shlomo Hamelech was led astray by this error, as he incorrectly assumed that he completely understood...
Continue Reading »